- In a time-honored tradition, no Monday Sixpack came out on Memorial Day. File this note in the, “Dear Mitch, if you’re holding this letter you already know...the house has been boarded up. The doors. The windows. Everything. We’re at the Comfort Inn. Room 112. I love you, Frank”
- We will not forget, however, to thank all of those families who have felt the painful sacrifices made for our country. We will not forget to remember all of those brave men and women who laid down their lives for us and for America. On behalf of my family, and from the bottom of my heart, I offer my thoughts and prayers for all those souls that left this world from the front lines of battles necessary for the defense of our way of life. I would never presume to speak for them, but I have to believe that most of those men and women, while bravely making the ultimate sacrifice, wished and prayed that their loss would mean the end of such losses...that by giving their lives, the lives of future generations might be spared. You can’t properly put into words what kind of character that is, because the appropriate superlatives don’t exist. Our job is simple compared to the job they did: try and live up to it...and never forget. Please help me transition from this to the rest of today’s banter by observing this Sixpack moment of silence for the men and women we can never, ever properly repay or thank enough:
- While there were plenty of things to write about through yesterday, I always like to treat a holiday Monday like an in-season Sunday (which is to say, sacredly). Everyone may not share my opinion on this, but Memorial Day is as close to an NFL Sunday as you can get in the oasis that spans from February to late-August. Think about: you can check the box on sports—you got all the baseball you want, the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse championship and usually one or both of the NBA Finals and NHL Finals. I get that many football fans would argue that this combination does not equal anything close to Sunday football—and they are right, but that is not all we are getting. On Memorial Day, you get the greatest war movies, war miniseries, amazing documentaries on The History Channel and so on. Even after putting a day’s work in outside, I was still able to come in and flip between “Band of Brothers,” a bench-clearing brawl featuring Bryce Harper and a D-Day documentary. (I wonder if wearing camo uniforms put Bryce in fighting mode?) After the family was asleep, “Patton” carried me into the night. The Maryland Terrapins won the men’s lacrosse national championship—a day after the women’s team took their own title. All in all, it was a great American day for the average sports fan that shares my perspective.
- I can’t let this thread go without talking a little Redskins. While it is kind of our job to make too much out of OTA performances, I think we all know that there is too much time between now and September to use a couple days of running around as the basis for any meaty conclusions. That said, there were a couple takeaways that I think are worth holding onto. First, the health of Josh Doctson is noteworthy. I don’t enjoy being the guy who keeps reminding my co-hosts on The Audible that the NFL is a “What have you done for me on Sunday?” world, but I dutifully do it. When he was drafted, we did a “Josh Doctson is John Snow” show that still stands as one of our highest-rated shows. Without ruining “Game of Thrones” for anyone here, let me just say this: that sentiment might be INSANELY on point heading into a season that has everyone asking, “That can’t be it from this man...surely his story is just beginning...surely we are about to see something truly magical!”
- I’ll combine two thoughts into one to close out. Terrelle Pryor is getting his bearings over at Redskins Park. He is battling with Josh Norman on the regular. When September hits, it is my hope (everyone’s hope I’m sure) that Pryor has fully integrated into the culture of our locker room, and has embraced his role on our team. Short of calling it a concern, this is what had some teams thinking twice about giving him a long-term contract. It says here that the Redskins locker room is finally a place where you can bring a guy like Pryor in and trust that Jay Gruden and the leaders on the team will help that player find his comfort zone—and play within it. We should see impressive stats out of Pryor this season, but unless and until he is comfortable on this team, we won’t get the teammate we need him to be—and that is what will truly make this offense great. On the flip side, I really liked the battle between our offense and defense in OTA’s from the standpoint that it got very competitive. After the defense kind of had the upper hand in early sessions, Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins started hitting them with a higher octane offense. I don’t particularly care about wins and losses on any given play. What I do care about is that this kind of competitiveness lasts all summer and into the season. We all talk about how good our offense was (for the most part) in 2016, and how bad our defense was (generally) last season. What we don’t say often enough is that our offense is good enough to make our defense better if they really go at it like this for a few months. Trust me when I tell you I have watched terrible offensive units battle terrible defensive units in practice before. It ain’t pretty, and it doesn’t make everyone as good as they can be or need to be. Kirk Cousins is the kind of player that can make our defense better—yet another source of value from a player that only seems to increase in value every time we measure.
The Tuesday edition of this week’s Sixpack still has all the Monday musings and ramblings you need.